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Publisher's Summary

The poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke addresses the issues of God, death, and "destructive time." Rilke tries to transform these problems into an inner world, what he calls "a whole inner world as if an angel, comprehending all space, were blind and looking into himself." Eminent author and translator Stephen Mitchell brings these ideas vividly to life in this new translation of Rilke's most transcendent works.
Recording (P)1997 by Audio Literature; Copyright ©1995 by Stephen Mitchell
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Critic Reviews

"Rilke has at last found, in Mitchell's version, the ideal English poetics and the perfect translator." (William Arrowsmith, co-author of The Craft and Context of Translation)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By John on 05-27-05

warning: listen before buying

I wish I had! The narrator gives a simpering, anemic reading of one of the most vital, compelling works in all of literature, as if trying to be the very apotheosis of an effete sensitive Victorian poet. Maybe Rilke intended his work to be read in this way, but I doubt it. Its more like a parody, and an unlistenable one at that. What a waste!

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13 of 16 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By sleiii on 03-16-18

Numbing Reading of a Great Poet

Stephen Mitchell, wherever his translations of Rilke may rank (undetermined except from local publicity and reviews), displays no scintilla of talent in the oral rendering of either the Duino Elegies or the Sonnets to Orpheus. HIs nasal monotone fails to distinguish cadence and inflection or tone and timbre in nearly two hours of droning through the rich variation of expression in the poems, ranging from anguish to exuberance in modes that veer from the discursive and conversational to the lyrical and ecstatic. Mitchell flattens it all in a voice that, if you walk a bit away from the output, increasingly begins to resemble a table fan or mosquito in its unbroken whine.

While it is regrettable that so bland an effort has the corner on this one work, it is perhaps refreshing to be sent back to a silent reading of Rilke’s written text to discover the vivid dimensions that the poetry's inherent power invariably creates on its own.

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